My two main characters, posh-boy Lucas the Inquisitor’s son, and wild-child Glory the wannabe criminal, came to me quite fully-formed. From there, it was easy to build a picture of their different worlds. But I did struggle with the witch-ducking scene that happens towards the end of the book. Even though Burn Mark is a fantasy novel, I wanted it to be relevant to the here and now, and so the ducking was very much based on accounts of water-boarding I read. I wanted the violence to be shocking, but thought-provoking, not sensationalist.
Has the title changed or stayed relatively the same as your novel journeyed towards publication?
The title came to me relatively early on. Fire and the scars it leaves, both literally and metaphorically, plays a big part in the story.
What book or author has most influenced you as a writer or in general?
There’s no one person or book. But my favourite authors include Jane Austen, Maurice Sendak, E. Nesbitt, Mary Renault and Margaret Atwood.
What jobs did you have on your way to becoming a writer/published author? Is there a certain work experience that has shaped your writing?
I worked in publishing for five years before leaving to concentrate on my own books and there is no better apprenticeship for a wannabe author! I got to work with some fantastic writers, but learned most from the editors I worked under. Publishing is packed with interesting and creative people, but it’s also a hard-nosed commercial business. The more a writer understands what goes on behind the scenes, the easier their journey to publication will be. Now I have a part-time job at a ballet company, which fulfills all my childhood dreams of hanging out with ballerinas and playing dress-up with tutus.
If you had to pick a favorite word, what would it be and why?
I love “perhaps”. It’s full of promise and possibility, and can herald either disappointment or gratification. Doris Day sang it best!
My blog is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Who, what, or where can be credited as your personal escape from reality?
Whenever grown-up life gets too much, I head back to my childhood home in rural Wales. It’s in a hidden valley, with a ruined castle across the way, and lots of ravens, wild ponies and waterfalls. Plus, there’s no mobile phone reception and a very dodgy internet connection, so it’s tricky for people to get hold of me there.
To find out more about Laura and her writing, check out her website!